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Spotlight: Honoring Women Veterans

Darian Khalilpour
Author: Darian Khalilpour
Date: January 22, 2024
Tags: Brand, Diversity, Healthcare Staffing, Inclusion, Spotlight

At Amergis Healthcare Staffing, our team members are at the heart of everything we do. Each month, our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) board highlights the story of Amergis employees who demonstrate our core values for healthcare professionals and their patients.

In January, the board is spotlighting two women who made the ultimate sacrifice by serving for our country. The D&I team spoke with Veterans Alyssa Martinez and Shauna Turner about their time serving, their career journeys, and what it is like being a Veteran in the workplace.

Q&A with Alyssa Martinez, Business Development Manager

Tell us a little about your current role and your career journey, including your time in the service.

In 2014, immediately after finishing High School, I was fortunate enough to join the Air Force Reserves at Joint Base Lewis-McChord as a Personnelist for the 446 Force Support Squadron. The Air Force allowed me to explore various parts of the world, including Biloxi, Mississippi, Charleston, North Carolina, and Ramstein, Germany, and many other places. During this time, I was assigned on MPA orders for nearly 2.5 years, working on JBLM’s DD 214 backlog.  After funding cuts affected my orders, I applied as a client coordinator in the Tacoma Washington office in 2016. I was a client coordinator for almost a year before getting promoted to a recruiter. I was a recruiter for about 1.5 years and eventually only focused on Educational Services once there was an ES split. Shortly after that, I decided to apply for the ES BDM position in Houston, Texas. A few months later, my husband and I made the exciting move to Houston, where I have spent the last four years as the Educational Services BDM overseeing the greater Houston area.

What was your most impactful takeaway from your time in the service?

Recognizing that each individual has a distinct upbringing, background, personality, and opinions, I have developed a genuine respect for everyone and their unique qualities. Meeting new individuals from all over and working together to complete a mission or task was one of the most awarding feelings. Building friendships with people whom I may not typically engage with has also been rewarding. In essence, being able to effectively communicate and value others for who they are has become my overarching most impactful takeaway. And one of the things I am most grateful for in the Air Force. I have met some incredible people that will be lifelong friends, so I am forever grateful.

What barriers have you faced in the workplace, and any related to your time in the service? How did you overcome them?

As someone who has served in the Air Force Reserve, I understand the delicate balance of managing both civilian and military responsibilities. It is not always easy, but I have learned to navigate this challenge. For instance, I used to work at [Amergis] during the week and attend drill weekends on the weekends, essentially working 12 consecutive days. This constant switch between roles can be mentally and emotionally demanding, often leaving me feeling exhausted and disconnected from myself. However, I have found that honesty is the best policy in overcoming these challenges. By openly communicating with my leaders, team, and loved ones about how I am feeling, I have been able to find the support and understanding I need. It also means that certain things may have to take a backseat, such as birthdays, family events, or even simple household tasks like doing the dishes or taking my dogs for a walk. But by reaching out for help and being open about my limitations, I have come to realize that a happy life is not about doing everything on my own, but rather about creating a strong support system with those around me.

What is your why?

My “why” is centered around my deep love for my family. They are my support system and my greatest inspiration. My ultimate goal is to leave a lasting legacy for generations to come while adding value to my name, Alyssa Martinez. I am fortunate to have a loving husband who encourages and motivates me to create a fulfilling and joyful life. My dogs, with their unconditional love, help me appreciate the simple pleasures that bring me happiness. Overall, my focus is on cultivating a happy life, surrounded by loved ones, and living every single day to the fullest!

From your perspective, what is one way you believe Amergis and/or your colleagues in the workplace can support Veterans?

One way [Amergis] and/or colleagues in the workplace can support Veterans is by creating a culture of understanding and inclusivity. This can be achieved by raising awareness about the unique challenges faced by Veterans transitioning from military to civilian life. Offering mentorship programs, organizing Veteran-specific support groups, and providing flexible work arrangements for those that still have a military contractual commitment (for example drill weekends). Lastly, providing Veterans with a day off on Veterans Day can be a meaningful way to show appreciation for their service. Many communities host events, offer discounts at local restaurants, and organize air shows or other activities, especially in areas near military bases. This day serves as an opportunity to honor and recognize both past and present servicemen and women who have served the country.

Q&A with Shauna Turner, Recruiter Trainee

Tell us a little about your current role and your career journey, including your time in the service.

I was in the Army for 7.5 years, I was a paratrooper and I was a signals intelligence analyst. I completed 4 deployments to Syria and Iraq. I received five Army Commendation Medals, four for my deployments and one for my time in service. I served with the 5th Special Forces Group at 1st BN Battalion Support Company in a military intelligence detachment, in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. I was attached to two Special Forces teams and worked directly and was co-located with Green Beret teams.

What is one thing you wish more people knew about Veterans in the workplace?

I think there are a lot of stereotypes in the workplace. Soldiers gain so much experience in their time in service, we travel, we go to schools and trainings, some of us even pursued higher education while serving. We were professionally developed and had to take EO trainings, workplace harassment trainings. We weren’t always in the field or uncivilized. Also as a woman I still slept on the ground in the field and I also deployed to outstations where I was the only female. I cannot tell you how many times someone has asked me if I were just behind the scenes when I know my male counterparts and the green berets I was co-located with are never asked that.

What was your most impactful takeaway from your time in the service?

I learned to build relationships and build trust with the people I was working with even in difficult scenarios. I had amazing leadership and at times not so great leadership; both were impactful. Great leaders actively and intentionally developed me in my career and taught me who I wanted to be as a leader. While negative leadership taught me styles and characteristics to avoid. I also developed a secure sense of self. I really adopted the mantra you may be the juiciest, ripest, peach and someone still isn’t going to like peaches. That what is most important is to show up, work hard, and do the right thing and the opportunities and people meant for you will follow. We can’t win everyone over with who we are but we can prove ourselves as a valuable member to a team.

What barriers have you faced in the workplace, and any related to your time in the service? How did you overcome them?

My greatest barrier in my military career was being the first junior enlisted female in my battalion. There was a female officer who worked upstairs in what is equivalent to Human Resources in a civilian structure. Whether it is fair or not I had to break stereotypes and build trust with the people I worked with. Many were unhappy with women being able to work in a battalion directly with Green Beret teams. Historically women were only allowed to work in Head Quarters where the opportunities were severely limited. I had to prove that I wasn’t a disruption to the Battalion, company and individual teams. As a 21 year old woman I am very thankful I was able to handle that pressure and take it on as my professional duty to prove women had a place there. After my first deployment I was passed up for an opportunity to deploy with a team. I was the most qualified candidate for this opportunity and when I asked why I was being passed my NCO said “We just want to protect you, we also don’t know that a team would accept a female.” I used this experience as fuel to present myself as the most competent and professional soldier who could not be denied that opportunity again. I went on my second deployment with the SOT-F, worked incredibly hard, earned the trust of my leaders as well as my peers and my third and fourth deployment with the recommendation of my Officer in Command I was attached and deployed with teams.

What is your why?

My why then was I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. Sometimes the military can be monotonous, a lot of hurry up and waiting, and sometimes it was hard to understand the why. But the moments in my career that impacted real lives and real life operations were my why. I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and I still do.

From your perspective, what is one way you believe Amergis and/or your colleagues in the workplace can support Veterans?

Direct colleagues- I think when it comes to working with civilians a lot of people make assumptions that your career or experience was/is similar to that of a family member, friend or spouse and maybe even books, podcasts or TV shows they watch. I would like civilians to know their loved ones experience is unique to them and only them. There are hundreds of different units and MOSs. Being more open to that idea would be helpful and feel more supporting. As far as company, there is a program the USPS adopted and many other companies have similar adopted policies. Veterans who have 30% or higher disability ratings are given extra hours of PTO to accommodate their Veteran affairs appointments.  I also encourage everyone to follow Hunter Seven Foundation, they spread awareness of life threatening/altering conditions post 9/11 Veterans are at incredibly high risk for and conditions they are diagnosed with that are disproportionate to their civilian peers in similar age demographics. They also support rights and laws to better serve and protect Veterans.

Join the Amergis Healthcare Staffing Team and Make a Difference

Amergis Staffing always has a wide range of available opportunities for people who are ready to accelerate their careers. We embrace employees from all different backgrounds and always strive to foster a welcoming work environment by following our core values of:

Learn how you can join the Amergis Staffing team by reaching out online today.

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